For the ultimate sensuous, decadent Parisian trip with scintillating literary overtones, head for the sumptuous L’Hôtel in St-Germain-des-Prés. The swanky yet understated location is perfect for dirty weekenders, set just a dreamy wander away from the bouquiniste-studded banks of the Seine bordering the Ile de la Cité, through gracious streets scattered with bijou boutiques and exclusive galleries. Elsewhere in the quartier, St-Germain-des-Prés has its own ravishing indoor market, the Delacroix museum and the overpriced but historic literary cafés Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore.
Inside the hotel, the intimate lobby and soaring central staircase give no hint of L’Hôtel’s former role as the preferred haunt of starving writers and artists; saucy performer Mistinguett stayed here, as did Oscar Wilde, who died in room 16 – the celebrated author and playwright declared with characteristic élan ‘I am dying beyond my means’. Since then guests have included Marlon Brando and Jorge Luis Borges, who thought L’Hôtel seemed ‘to have been sculpted by a cabinet maker’.
Certainly, there’s nothing modern or cold about L’Hôtel’s swags, drapes, carved wood and soaring staircases. Careful restoration by designer Jacques Garcia has given each room has its own special theme: Mistinguett’s chambre retains its art deco mirror bed, while Oscar’s tribute room is appropriately clad in green peacock murals. Each one feels more like the wing of a luxurious country estate than a hotel room; the best have little terraces overlooking the Parisian rooftops. Don’t miss out on dinner in the fabulously decadent restaurant, run by talented chef Julien Montbabut – or on the hotel’s glorious underground heated swimming pool, which you can reserve by the hour for private relaxation.
13, Rue Des Beaux-Arts
|Price:||€290.00 to €680.00 per night|
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